Saudi Arabia hails ‘first building block of strong, secure and stable Sudan’

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Sudan's protest leader Ahmad Rabie (R), flashes the victory gesture alongside General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan (2nd-R), the chief of Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC), during a ceremony where they signed a "constitutional declaration" in Khartoum on August 17, 2019. (AFP)
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Protesters from the city of Atbara arrive at the Bahari station in Khartoum on August 17, 2019, to celebrate transition to civilian rule. (AFP)
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Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir (R) sits alongside Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesman Shams-Eddin Kabashi (L) while attending a ceremony to sign a "constitutional declaration” in Khartoum on August 17, 2019. (AFP)
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Sudanese momen and men celebrate outside the Friendship Hall in the capital Khartoum where generals and protest leaders signed a historic transitional constitution meant to pave the way for civilian rule in Sudan, on August 17, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 18 August 2019

Saudi Arabia hails ‘first building block of strong, secure and stable Sudan’

  • Protest leaders and military chiefs sign historic deal paving way to civilian rule

JEDDAH: Military chiefs and protest leaders in Sudan signed a final power-sharing agreement in Khartoum on Saturday that paves the way for elections and a civilian government.

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is known as Hemedti, deputy head of the transitional military council, and opposition alliance representative Ahmad Al-Rabie were the main signatories.

Crowds gathered outside the Friendship Hall convention center where the signing ceremony took place, singing, waving flags and flashing peace signs in celebration.

The ceremony was witnessed by African Union and Ethiopian mediators, who helped broker the deal, and observers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.

The agreement was “the first building block that will contribute to establishing a state with a strong economy and security,” said Adel Al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, who represented the Kingdom. 

“Saudi Arabia has supported, and still supports, all that guarantees Sudan’s security,” Al-Jubeir said. “The stability of Sudan is an important part of the region’s stability, and it contributes to international peace and security.”

The agreement establishes a sovereign council consisting of five members selected by the military, five chosen by the opposition coalition, and one agreed upon by both sides. The military will be represented by military council chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, his deputy Hemedti, Lt. Gen. Yasser Al-Atta and two others to be announced later.

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PHOTOS: Sudanese take to the streets to celebrate transition to civilian rule

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Military chiefs have ruled Sudan since April, when they deposed Omar Bashir after 30 years as president following months of protests against his rule. Hemedti commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, some of whose members have been accused of involvement in killing protesters.

After the signing ceremony, Sudanese civilians were jubilant. “This is the biggest celebration I have ever seen in my country. We have a new Sudan,” said Saba Mohammed, 37, waving a flag.

At Khartoum’s central market, shoppers and traders said they hoped a civilian government would help put food on the table. “Everybody is happy now,” said Ali Yusef, 19, a university student who also works in the market. “We were under the control of the military for 30 years but today we are leaving this behind us and moving toward civilian rule.”

Vegetable trader Ali Issa Abdel Momen said: “I’m 72, and for 30 years under Bashir I had nothing to feel good about. Now … I am starting to breathe.”

The celebrations extended beyond Sudan. In Saudi Arabia, Mostafa Said Mostafa, a Sudanese pilgrim who has just performed Hajj, told Arab News it was “a wonderful end to the revolution and struggles of the Sudanese people over nearly a year.”

Another pilgrim, Dhia Ahmed Wada’a, said the day deserved to be celebrated. “Our prayers during Hajj have been answered,” he said. “Sudan has exited the dark tunnel toward civilian government.”


Iran charges three detained Australians with spying: report

Updated 40 min 51 sec ago

Iran charges three detained Australians with spying: report

  • Two of the Australians were alleged to have used a drone to take pictures of military sites

TEHRAN: Iran has charged three detained Australians with spying, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Tuesday, cited by Tasnim news agency.
Two of the Australians were alleged to have used a drone to take pictures of military sites, while a third was accused of spying for another country, Esmaili said, without naming them.